Barbara Slavin and her new stance…

A few months ago came across some surprising criticism of Barbara Slavin, a journalist I’ve always considered to be a professional and responsible reporter from her time at the Washington Times and the Economist.  But since she started writing for al-Monitor, things haven’t quite been the same. I was intrigued by the criticism and decided to do some research of my own.

In her own bio, Slavin highlights the fact “she has traveled to Iran seven times and was the first U.S. newspaper reporter to interview Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad”, an attempt perhaps to further underpin her perceived ‘expertise’ in the field.

However, her affection for Iran, and more particularly the regime and its estranged leaders takes on a worrying form in some of her articles.

“Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seemed pleased to see me last week when I met him in New York along with six other Americans who have written books on Iran.”

She opens her interview with the Iranian president earlier this month.

She then complains that the president of Iran denied ever meeting her.  She is clearly offended this time around and spends her article correctly noting the pathetically propagandist nature of the Iranian press.

This is in stark contrast to the praise she heaped on the Iranian president after his speech at the UN this year.  She commends it, noting that “Ahmadinejad made only one reference to Israel in his speech a day earlier, noting “the continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation. Ahmadinejad did not deny the Holocaust, accuse the US of attacking itself on 9-11 or repeat his usual citation of Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s prediction that Israel would be “wiped from the pages of history.”

Nor did the Iranian president mention that one nuclear weapon could destroy Israel – as former President Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani once said – or even say that Iran would retaliate against an Israeli strike.

It almost sounds like a tongue in cheek compliment, a back-handed criticism if you will.  But when the article starts off with the sentence For the first time in eight years of appearing before the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a less controversial and hard-line speech than the leader of Israel”, the reader quickly realizes that Slavin is utilizing these points to support her claim, and that her admiration and gratitude are genuine.

One month prior to this, she interviewed Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (see my recent post) at the NAM conference.

The uncritical platform for his distortion of reality is worrying to say the least:

“Salehi repeated Iranian offers to help resolve the crisis in Syria — offers that the Barack Obama administration has rejected.”

With no mention of the fact that there have been numerous reports of the IRG supporting Assad’s killing machine and snipers in Syria speaking Persian.

She notes that:

“The soft-spoken foreign minister, who got his PhD in physics from MIT before the 1979 Iranian revolution and previously served as Iran’s representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, also said he remains optimistic that a “win-win” solution can be found to Iran’s nuclear confrontation with the US and much of the international community despite the current apparent deadlock in talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1).”

Nothing about the Iranian foot-dragging.

Nothing about the continued enrichment.

Nothing about the concealment of facilities or the lack of cooperation with the IAEA.

In the al-Monitor interview of Slavin herself, following the NAM conference, she describes Iran with in affectionate times.

http://al-monitor.tumblr.com/post/30881158252/my-colleague-barbara-went-to-tehran-and-all-i-got-was

Slavin seems to be in love with some Orwellian paradise, “I felt very monitored, and I was extremely careful in terms of who I went and saw. I didn’t see a lot of my old friends because I didn’t want to put them into an awkward position…. If Iran would ever solve its problems with the US, it would be paradise for American tourists, because there’s so much to see and the food is so good.”

While Iran is certainly a beautiful country, with a cultured (and in many cases brave) people; the NAM conference was a pure propaganda exercise (see my previous posts on the issue).  It was a manipulative attempt at normalization and means to deflect attention from the deception and lies surrounding Iran’s opaque nuclear program. And Slavin swallowed the bait; hook line and sinker.

Slavin believes it’s Time to Rethink US Policy on Iran. I know this because she appears at events under this heading – for example, at the Atlantic Council on October 4

http://www.acus.org/event/time-rethink-policy-toward-iran

… and the University of Utah this November 16

http://miage.utah.edu/events.php

So no ambiguity on where she stands.

Her recent tweets are also demonstrative of her new line of thinking…

–          Barbara Slavin @barbaraslavin1

“hope reports about us- #iran bilat contacts are true. about time!”

–           Barbara Slavin ‏@barbaraslavin1

#iran sanctions hurt the wrong Iranians”

–          Barbara Slavin @barbaraslavin1

banning yourself from talking to adversaries like #iran #hezbollah and #hamas makes you dependent on second hand intelligence

–         Barbara Slavin @barbaraslavin1

With Lieberman at his side, Netanyahu’s war cabinet is on a one-way track to Iran http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/1.472358 …

–         Barbara Slavin @barbaraslavin1

‘preventive’ strike on #Iran illegal http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/10/25/the-u-k-thinks-a-strike-on-iran-would-be-illegal-denies-u-s-access-to-its-bases/ …

Al-Monitor has some excellent contributors on Iranian issues, most notably; Laura Rozen and Meir Javedanfar.   And Barbara Slavin is of course more than entitled to her own opinions, but she is posing as an objective journalist and nuanced commentator on Iran and its nuclear program… This, she is most certainly not.

Blogging & updating on #Iran related news- focusing on Politics, Human Rights & the Iranian nuclear Program. Followed by top Middle East Analysts, Reportes & think tanks.

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Posted in Al monitor, Ali Akbar Salehi, Other News
2 comments on “Barbara Slavin and her new stance…
  1. […] With New Year’s approaching, we at Iran Media Focus feel that a brief update is in order regarding Iran’s unofficial spokespeople in the media (see previous posts about Trita Parsi, Reza Marashi, Hossein Mousavian etc) – as well as those whose articles often appear to be dictated by the Iranian regime (Barbara Slavin).  […]

  2. […] in the Trita Parsi fan club – thought his legal defeats were newsworthy.  Not Al-Monitor’s Barbara Slavin. Not the BBC’s Lyse Doucet. Not his co-signatories to the latest Atlantic Council report- […]

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